W Bro William Halsey reports:
Since its successful launch, some 18 months ago, the world of Freemasonry has moved on considerably and Solomon has moved on with it. From its original base of pure written material, it has expanded its reach and provided new ways of learning to new audiences with new modules which include sound recordings, interactive and audiovisual content - with more content planned for future release.
Solomon, however, is far more than a library or repository of material. Solomon is a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)– like those used by Colleges and Universities – making not only the content easier to navigate, but also enabling each user to customise the ways in which they learn.
All of the content is divided into sections, called ‘Modules’ which can be enrolled into, you will even receive updates when your Modules are updated with content. In addition to the very robust Search Functionality, Solomon has a Tag systemwithin it that enables individual masons to follow their own individual learning pathways.
Members can pursue a structured programme, learning more about each Degree in conjunction with their own progression through the ceremonies and on into the Royal Arch as a steady advancement of personal learning and understanding; others can explore specific or diverse interests which may often be much more expansive, and pursue the symbolism behind the ritual, or delve into the history and traditions of Freemasonry.
Every member has their own style of learning and it is part of our mission to enable every member to use Solomon, whatever their learning style or objectives. Solomon is not just for individual learning however, what is most important is that we share our enjoyment of discovery and learning with others in and beyond our own Lodges and Chapters.
The Learning and Development initiative had its origin in the results of a survey – which received over 80,000 responses – carried out in Freemasonry Today in 2015. In that survey, many respondents reported that understanding our symbolism, moral and philosophical issues was essential or at least important. Many reported that they had unmet learning expectations and needs, that too little time, guidance and support was offered to extend learning beyond performing the ritual and ceremonies well. Significantly, many expressed interest to learn more of our history and traditions. Royal Arch members had the greatest interest. This interest and expectation to learn was evident across all age groups, particularly amongst newer and younger members.
The Improvement Delivery Group of UGLE, chaired by Sir David Wootton, the Assistant Grand Master, set as a strategic priority the need for a continuous programme of education within Lodges to promote better understanding of the ritual. So, Solomon was created as the Learning & Development vehicle for UGLE with a remit to bring Masonic knowledge and understanding to a new level of prominence.
With the current meeting suspension, Solomon has taken on an even more significant role as a resource for the enjoyment and instruction of individual Brethren and as a supply of informative, credible material for use at virtual gatherings and classes of instruction. The Learning & Development Team continue to work relentlessly behind the scenes to upload new, interesting, and dynamic material, in a variety of formats, to satisfy the requirements of our members and bring education back into the Lodge environment.
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 41 July 2020 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons - Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 41.